Introduction to BizTalk Explorer Services

In BizTalk

This post is an introduction to the BizTalk Explorer Services project.

Why the need for BizTalk Explorer Services?

The birth of BES came out of necessity for a BizTalk WCF API when I was working on a Windows Phone 7 project. I had taken a look at BizTalk Data Services by Tellago. But in the end I went down my own path in order to be in complete control and, honestly, the learning experience of it.

The BES project thus addresses the issue I had in my Windows Phone 7 project of exposing lightweight BizTalk objects through WCF services.

The BizTalk Explorer Services architecture


These are the four main layers of the BES project architecture. At the top there’s the WCF services which do nothing more but expose the entities by calling the explorers. These in turn do the heavy lifting by querying the actual BizTalk API objects.

The end result is a simple WCF service that exposes lightweight BES entity objects. These obfuscate any security related information in regards to BizTalk service accounts and database names.

Each BES explorer is separated into its own specific category to highlight exactly what it is responsible for.



Project structure




The project structure follows the architecture. The exception are the core classes which consist of base, settings and exception functionality native to the BES project.

The [assemblies] folder is empty. This folder should contain the following assemblies:

  • Microsoft.BizTalk.ExplorerOM.dll
  • Microsoft.BizTalk.Operations.dll
  • Microsoft.BizTalk.Pipeline.dll

The reason for their absence is because they’re copyrighted by Microsoft. If you intend to use the BES project then you’ll already have them with your BizTalk installation! Simply copy them into the [assemblies]-folder and update the project references.

Installing BizTalk Explorer Services

The BES project has been tested in an IIS 7and this is the intended hosting environment.

The issues that need to be adressed are the following:

  • imageThe application pool must support 32-bit applications since the BizTalk ExplorerOM assembly is 32-bit only. 
  • The application pool account that the BES project is running under must have access to the BizTalk Management Database.




The future of BizTalk Explorer Services

As mentioned before a BizTalk Windows Phone 7 project is underway. I hope to address the need for an EPiServer BizTalk Explorer Gadget Pack as well!

Recent Posts
  • ukwizard

    Hi – Has there been any future versions of this implementation. If there has been any, then can you please post the URL, sorry for my ignorance.

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